COVID-19 Vaccination Education Module

We’ve had several clients looking for educational resources around COVID-19 vaccination.  The following info is provided by the City Of Toronto and provides a certificate after completion.

COVID-19 Vaccination Education Module

Workplace policies should require workers who do not provide proof of vaccination to complete a vaccination education module with a signed declaration that they understand the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination. Employers can use Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination: Understanding the Benefits and Risks module for this purpose.

Ontario’s Enhanced COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate

Things are changing in Ontario, and the governments announcement yesterday (September 1st) includes Mandatory vaccinations for many public spaces (seminars, concerts, restaurants etc.).

This document is NOT intended as a workplace resource, but does provide a window into what Ontario residents are going to have to do to attend events, travel etc. and will likely play a part Ontario Vaccine cover to increase vaccination rates.

Please click on the image or link below to see the whole document.

Free HR/legal Webinar on Vaccination, Testing, Return to Work (9/30/2021)

Employers are always looking for HR advice around tricky issues and Laura Williams and her firm are great at sharing through events like the one below.  We help sponsor some events (through the association I run – and share others, like this one, that may be of interest.  Please feel free to register for those that are of interest through the links below.  They are free of charge, and how often do you hear lawyers and free in the same sentence? 🙂

This fall, due to popular demand, the Williams HR Law team will be putting on a series of three free one-hour webinars, focusing on “hot spots” that we have identified as the most challenging and particularly pressing for employers as they navigate “The New World of Work”.

Register here to join us from 12-1 pm on September 30, October 28 and November 25!

The first webinar, on September 30, focuses on the “hottest topic” in HR law today: COVID-19 vaccination and testing policies. While the general strategies we will discuss during the webinar will help all employers, we recognize that many organizations require customized guidance and support with their efforts to develop return-to-work and vaccination strategies and policy development. We are currently supporting many of our clients with those efforts and would be pleased to support your organization as well. Please reach out to one of our lawyers for assistance.

Exclusive Client Benefit – FREE ACCESS to Canadian HR & COVID Toolkit

Dear Mainstay Clients,

We periodically remind our clients that Mainstay has entered into a program with ConnectsUs HR ™ to provide HR Resources.  We currently have about one third of our clients using the the site. If you have not yet checked it out, please do so HERE

Your free access to the proven HR & COVID-19 toolkit lets you:

  • Stay on top of the pandemic as it relates to your workforce with the COVID-19 Portal, notifications about important announcements, resources & templates.
  • Gain continued access to pre-written templates and legislated updates, including jurisdiction-specific Employee Handbook updates for 5 provinces.
  • Explore the latest and greatest content that’s continually added, including the most popular HR kits with detailed instructions: 

Effective August 27, 2021, all basic employee handbooks and comprehensive employee manuals now include a COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy template. 

The new policy is located in each of the 10 documents in the Staff Policies section under Conditions of your Engagement.  You can find the documents in the Employee Handbook Kit.

The best part?  There’s no cost to you – we’ve picked up the tab and you won’t even have to provide a credit card. Just drop us a note and we’ll give you a code to access the resources for free.

Canadian employers expecting to increase salaries by 3% in 2022: survey

From time to time I am asked by clients what clients are doing as far as salary increases. It doesn’t come up often, and I don’t track client numbers that way, but I thought this was an interesting survey to share.  Of note, and one of the reasons for the larger increases was this quote… “51 per cent of companies surveyed globally are reporting better than expected performance in 2021.”

Canadian employers said they expect salaries to increase from just over two per cent in 2021 to about three per cent in 2022, according to a new survey from Willis Towers Watson….


Extension of Temporary Relief from ESA Termination and Severance Provisions

On June 4, 2021, the Ontario government extended the temporary relief measures from the termination and severance provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) until September 25, 2021

The majority of our clients have kept their employees working safely during COVID, but there may be people that are still off on leave and many of those will be returning to workplaces at the end of September when IDEL appears to be ending. 

Canada life did a communication piece to explain what this means to employers (see below). We’ve included it here in the event you find yourself in this position.

IDEL extensions continue up to September 25th, 2021

Earlier this month the Ontario government announced the “deemed” Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) COVID19 period would be extended to Sept. 25, 2021.

All employees currently on layoff in Ontario continue to be protected under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). Deemed IDEL allows all in-force coverage, including disability coverage, to remain in force on a premium paying basis, until Sept. 25, 2021. Any coverage that had terminated will remain so until the end of the leave or return to work date, whichever is earlier.

If the Ontario government ends deemed IDEL on Sept. 25, then starting Sept. 26, 2021 the following will apply:

  • The Employment Standards Act (ESA) regular rules around constructive dismissal resume and an employee may be constructively dismissed, even for COVID-19 related reasons. In this case, the group coverage for the employee would be terminated.
  • The ESA regular rules around temporary layoffs resume and the temporary lay-off clock resets. Employees who can’t return to work will be considered on a temporary layoff, with Sept. 26, 2021 being the first day of the temporary layoff. In this case, the employee’s group coverage will be extended (31 days for disability and six months for all other coverage) based on the termination provision of the group contract. If disability coverage was discontinued during the deemed IDEL, it will remain in terminated status.
  • Employees can apply for regular IDEL (not deemed IDEL) if they meet the criteria. An employee’s benefits coverage, minus disability, would continue as this is considered an ESA leave.


Enforceability Of Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies In The Workplace

As many employers begin the task of bringing staff back to the office/shop/plant, we are hearing more questions around employee and employers duties and rights. The courts have not provided clear direction (yet), but both sides of the discussion are mentioned here. Take a read.

To date, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have not introduced any legislation which would require all eligible individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  However, would a mandatory vaccination policy introduced by an employer be legally enforceable?  If employees refuse to get vaccinated, would an employer be justified to prohibit the employee from attending at the workplace, to place them on an unpaid leave of absence, or to terminate their employment or otherwise discipline the employee?  In addressing this issue, there are two competing interests…


Do you need FREE HR Resources to make life easier?

Dear Mainstay Clients,

We periodically like to remind our clients that we have entered into a program with ConnectsUs HR ™ to gain free access to the proven HR & COVID-19 toolkit that will help your Canadian small business:

  • Stay on top of the pandemic as it relates to your workforce with the COVID-19 Portal, notifications about important announcements, resources & templates.
  • Gain continued access to pre-written templates and legislated updates, including jurisdiction-specific Employee Handbook updates for 5 provinces.
  • Explore the latest and greatest content that’s continually added, including the most popular HR kits with detailed instructions:

       · Basic employee handbooks and comprehensive employee manuals for 5 provinces

       · Contracts & agreements

       · Pre-written and comprehensive job descriptions common to all small businesses

       · COVID-19 and legislation resources

The best part? There’s no cost to you – we’ve picked up the tab..

If you’re interested and want more details, follow the link here…

If you want to take advantage of this offer, please call us for a 100% free discount code.

Ontario Employers Operating in Multiple Jurisdictions – Court Rules Severance Pay Under the ESA is not Limited to Ontario Payroll

This legal case has changed how severance may be calculated if you are an Ontario Employer. Take a read to see if it affects you…

Ontario employers with a payroll of $2.5 million or more are required under Section 64 of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) to pay statutory severance pay to terminated employees who have five or more years of service.
In Hawkes v Max Aicher (“Hawkes”) the Divisional Court overturned an earlier Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) decision and found that the $2.5 million threshold is not limited to an employer’s payroll in Ontario, but instead, based on an employer’s global payroll. In this context, ‘global payroll’ means the total payroll of the employer including Ontario, all payrolls in provinces outside of Ontario and payrolls throughout the world as well as the payrolls of related companies to the employer. The Court, in coming to its decision, noted that there is nothing in the provision itself that limits the calculation to Ontario payroll. The Court, to support its finding, cited previous decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada, which stand for the principal that the ESA should be characterized as benefits-conferring legislation and interpreted in a broad and generous manner in order to extend its protection to as many employees as possible.
This decision is somewhat surprising because it contradicts a number of OLRB decisions. Although, it is noteworthy the OLRB has essentially ignored a similar court decision from 2014. With two such decisions on the books, it will be interesting to see if the OLRB will follow Hawkes or if the legislature will amend the ESA to address the inconsistencies between the OLRB’s historical approach and cases like Hawkes.
Key Takeaways: We understand that this case is likely to be appealed. However, for the time being, it appears there is now more caselaw in support of the position that the severance pay calculation is based upon global payroll rather than Ontario payroll. With this in mind, Ontario employers will need to be prepared to pay severance pay where their global payroll exceeds $2.5 million annually. Strategically, Ontario employers may decide to wait until they are ordered to pay severance pay by the OLRB or a court, or simply pay it out upon termination to avoid any potential issues.
If you have any questions regarding this, or terminations in general, do not hesitate to reach out to speak with an e2r™ Advisor.  READ MORE

Ontario Extends Deemed IDEL Yet Again

The article below will explain more about the Ontario IDEL extension.

The Ontario government has once again extended the deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”), which had been set to expire on July 3rd, 2021, and now will end on September 25, 2021.

This is good news for employers who have employees on this job-protected leave and are not prepared to bring them back in the near future but are not necessarily wanting to terminate.

This leave was first created in March 2020, retroactive to January 25, 2020, and has been set to expire and extended several times since.  If the leave does end on September 25, 2021, employees on the leave will be converted to a temporary layoff.

It is also important to note the possible constructive dismissal risks associated with this leave, which we discussed in a recent Alert found here.